elementary the grand experiment

Another season of Elementary comes to a close with one of the biggest cases Sherlock’s (Jonny Lee Miller) ever faced — figuring out who framed Mycroft (Rhys Ifans). The three-episode tale comes to a thrilling conclusion in “The Grand Experiment,” and not everyone comes out unscathed.

The Players:

  • Director: John Polson
  • Writer: Robert Doherty, Craig Sweeny
  • Cast: Jonny Lee Miller, Lucy Liu, Aidan Quinn, Jon Michael Hill

Episode Title: “The Grand Experiment”

Sherlock just found out his brother Mycroft (Ifans) is being framed by a mole in the MI6. Sherlock and Watson (Liu) put their deductive thinking to the test. Meanwhile Sherlock is heavily conflicted with the news that Watson’s going to move out, and takes it as if she wants to sever their relationship. He tries to desperately persuade her to stay, but there are more important things to worry about.

The Good:

  • Brotherly Love: Once Watson confesses to Sherlock the reasoning behind Mycroft joining MI6, he mentally declares that he’ll go through great lengths to prove his brother’s innocence. Mycroft is in the clear once they weave their way through some red tape, but it doesn’t come without a price. Mycroft and Sherlock may always be at odds, but they’re still brothers and that’s the main theme in “The Grand Experiment.” The decision for Mycroft to step out of the picture was done as an act of kindness. Ifan’s and Miller’s performances make the feelings onscreen seem tangible and real. It will have you on the verge of tears by its conclusion.
  • Watson’s Struggles: This is a pivotal time in Watson’s life for a variety of reasons. Not only is she romantically invested in Mycroft, but she’s trying her best to separate herself from Sherlock. It’s time for her to move on and make her own life, and Sherlock can’t seem to grasp it. Lucy Liu brings up a string of emotions for the conflicted Watson that translate well onscreen.
  • Conflicted Sherlock: A couple episodes ago we saw Sherlock store drugs in one of his hollow books for safe keeping. He’s been good enough not to cross that line, but he may have finally cracked. Watson is moving out, and she’s been an emotional crutch for him. His brother suddenly disappeared for the safety of his family, so now Sherlock has no one to turn to. Seeing each of these characters go their separate ways makes us wonder what we’ll be seeing in Season 3. Sherlock decided that he’ll work for MI6, and with that may come a string of new problems.
  • Visuals: John Polson is one of the go-to directors in the Elementary canon and for good reason. He provided a great number of well placed shots. When you’re dealing with such an intense episode as “The Grand Experiment,” the filmmaking and writing need to go hand-in-hand or else it won’t work. Thankfully, this combination did.

The So-So:

  • The Mole: If you were paying attention in the previous episode, it was obvious that Mycroft’s handler was the shadiest character in the bunch at MI6. Could he be the mole? The answer is a definite yes. A lot of the mystery disappeared when audiences found out this bit of information. The general chase of piecing together how he framed Mycroft was at least fun to watch.

The Bad:

  • NYPD: It’s obvious that the past couple episodes were more spy-centric than a police procedural. But our favorite detective and captain took a back seat.We hope to see more of them in the upcoming season, even if Sherlock is suddenly working with MI6.


“The Grand Experiment” is a fabulous end to another entertaining season of Elementary. The general uncertainty of where our beloved duo will go lingers in our minds. For now we’re left with the sweet taste of this well written story arc.

Rating: 9/10

Elementary airs on Thursdays at 10 p.m. on CBS.

What did you think of the season finale?